April 27: Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day with local bookstores

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On Saturday, April 27th over 1,000 bookstores in all 50 states are celebrating the 11th annual Independent Bookstore Day. Local indie bookstores are participating and are offering a slate of activities and offers to commemorate the day and to show their appreciation for New Hampshire readers.

Balin Books on Amherst Street in Nashua, the Bookery on Elm Street in Manchester, and Gibson’s Bookstore on South Main Street and Concord are three local bookstores that celebrate the occasion. They are all members of the American Booksellers Association.

These three bookstores with their peers across the country provide much to celebrate. Each store is unique in its way but in general, independent bookstores are one measure of the vitality of your community. They are a hub and spoke of connections, events, and community. They are centers of shared knowledge and build the quality of life for residents.

With local ownership and employees, they are engines in the local economy.  The majority of every dollar spent at an indie remains in the community. The payoff also comes back in the form of what these businesses give back to support causes that benefit the towns they operate in.

Williard Williams, co-owner of Balin Books in Nashua, is an independent bookstore veteran with over 50 years of operating stores in southwestern NH. His long history of providing readers with an extensive collection of titles, customer service, and the best of books is legendary. He offers this invitation to the citizens of the Gate City.

“Please join us in recognizing the impact independent bookstores have on the local community and in celebrating all those such as yourself who have made it possible for this bookselling community to thrive.”

One thing distinguishing your book-buying experience with independents is the level of service and expertise on hand to guide your purchases. Indies pride themselves on knowing books, and authors and having the expertise to guide their customers’ selections. Balin Books store manager Michael Joachim was succinct in his view, “ You don’t get this customer service from Amazon.”

They also bring people together around books. Balin recently hosted an event with Author Joe Hill; more than 100 people attended.  This bookstore supports and collaborates with the Nashua Public Library on reading programs, an important connection to the community.

Ryan Clark, Gibson Books marketing manager describes the event as “The day for people to celebrate their local independent bookstore,  it’s a day where they come in, it’s a party, it’s a day to thank indies for existing.”  They plan for a full day of activities and special offers including a kid’s bookmark design contest and playing bookstore bingo.

Gibson’s gives back to Concord with support for local causes. Supporting Friends of Forgotten Children with an annual toy drive, and the Prismatic Reading program that provides donated books for Queer YA readers among other programs.

That spirit of community and inclusion is a feature of these stores.  They consider themselves a destination, a refuge, even a place of safety. They are local sanctuaries and gathering places.

Cassie Doran the manager of the Bookery summed up what makes independent bookstores unique this way,  “ I think what is best about this business is our sense of community, we take the time to get to know our customers, We are here for our community. We provide a certain level of comfort by accepting all types of customers, we celebrate their differences, and we welcome and accept people for who they are.”

That seems more valuable than next-day shipping.

Dan Splaine

DAN SPLAINE – Photographer/Contributor

Nashua native Dan Splaine is a commercial photographer who creates images for businesses. A strong belief in the value of local independent journalism, his Nashua roots, and his extensive background in photojournalism make contributing to the NASHUA INK LINK a natural choice.

After working in dozens of countries and throughout the US on assignments Dan will happily go local and turn his lens to capture lives and living in the Gate City. You can see his work and learn about his photography services and workshops by going to his website.

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